What Does It Mean to LEAD?

Anyone who is in a position of “leadership” has no doubt at one time asked themselves this question.  Just because a person has a leadership position does not mean they actually know how to lead, and we have all experienced one of these individuals during our professional careers. Over the course of my professional career, I have read hundreds of books on leadership, heard thousands of hours from speakers and experts on this topic and experienced my share of good and bad leaders.  Leading to me is “OPPORTUNITY.” 

Each morning a leader has the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those they lead.  Being a leader is about the opportunity to “serve” those who look to us as leaders.  Serving is just the tip of the iceberg.  Just below the surface is “our character.”  It is tough to live out a false character or wear a mask every day.  Our character is based on our values and our beliefs. 

My professional business tag line is:  “Know what you believe and why you hold that belief.” I still remember the day and the client when this sentence came out of my mouth during a coaching session in the form of a question.  I asked my client this:  “What do you believe about “X”?”  The client’s eyes widened, and their mouth fell open, and there was a long, long period of silence.  Then I very carefully asked:  “Where did that belief come from?”  For a coach, this was one of those once in a lifetime moments when a huge light bulb went off in my head that I had hit on a “GOLDEN QUESTION” which unlocked my clients and still does to this day. 

Keeping up a false belief, and actions become exhausting, and cracks begin to show.  Our character shows up in our “behavior.”  Haven’t you ever wondered why there are people in positions of power who are known liars, leakers of sensitive information, and spreading untruths, and still they hold places of leadership?  [I am not talking about a politician here, but rather about those in leadership in business.] 

If you are not currently leading in your professional life, how would you like your leader to lead you?  This is a clue as to how you should lead when you do get into a position of leadership.  Developing relationships with your team requires you to listen.  Listen to learn not listen to reply.  Spend time with those you lead and get to know what is their specific learning type, response type, how broad is their bandwidth, what is going on in their lives outside of work and so on.  If you lack in some specific knowledge or skillset, wouldn’t you love for your leader in investing in your professional development?  Sure you would. 

A leader must also be able to course correct, develop new methods, develop their own leadership and this is hard.  A leader has many things pressing in on them daily, but these things are vital to keeping up with the fast pace changing technology and the global business environment we all work in. 

For many leaders it is just about the numbers, the financial bottom line; however the bottom line, the numbers, and goals cannot be met if those driving toward them do not have or do not share the vision of those leading.  I once had a mentor retort over and over; the time to have your map is before you go into the woods.  How true that statement is.  You can’t ask “Siri” or “Google” your way to a prosperous bottom line.

Every business has an example of a great leader in that niche.  Research and read about how they view their leadership role.  Each one if they are transparent enough will acknowledge their personal bias, how they compensate during times of stress, they know their strengths and weaknesses, how they value or do not value results over relationships, where they look for people to fill the gaps in their own areas of weakness, and they know they must be consistent with their practices as a leader, how they measure people and success as well as being the pentacle role model for what they want to see in those they lead.

Okay, so what about how you led today in the business world?  What did you model for those you lead?

I’d like to hear from you!

Next Month we will talk about “Where Do Leaders Think?”

Janice Bastani Coaching offers customized solutions for you and your team to resource and equips you to be a “Great Leader.”  When you are ready, we are here to help, send an email to begin the process: janice@janicebastanicoaching.com.

Visit my website at:

www.janicebastanicoaching.com   or www.johnmaxwellgroup.com/janicebastani